Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Authors: Malcolm Gladwell
Hardcover: 320 pages
Published: January, 2005
Blink is a book about the human brain. While it helps the reader better understand how the human brain works, don’t expect to be able to use that understanding to your advantage. In fact, while the book provides a fascinating discovery of how the human brain “thin slices” both people and events, the main takeaway from this is that thin slicing is either accurate or it’s not.
Gladwell points out some cases where thin slicing based on limited information is just as accurate (or more accurate) as making a decision on piles of research. In other cases, thin slicing causes us to have wrong impressions about a person and therefore causing us to make wrong decisions. Even still, there are the instances where thin slicing completely fails and everything goes sour.
The one thing I did take away, is that the human brain is not always capable of allowing us to verbally explain the things we do or think. Unless you’re particularly skilled in a certain area, once you try to explain why you initially think this or that, the reasoning begins to break down and often fails entirely. This can then cause us to come to conclusions that are contrary to what we really believe. Strange, yeah, I know.
That’s what makes Blink fascinating. The human brain is so complex that it often doesn’t even work in the ways we would think. But it can be trained. Immerse yourself into something and your brain develops the capability of knowing why you like or dislike certain things or even to read things in high-stress situations that the normal person would not.
As a business owner I didn’t find Blink to be as useful as The Tipping Point, also from Gladwell, but the author does have a way of bringing oddities to light and presents them in a fascinating way.